Rockfish comforts with classic foods

“Come for the free appetizers — stay for the delicious comfort food” at the Edgartown eatery.

Free passed apps from Rockfish. —Photos by Marnely Murray

Even though March is already here and spring will soon grace us with her presence, the cold weather is still present, especially during the nighttime. Nothing makes me crave comfort food more than weather under 30°F, so when I noticed that Rockfish in Edgartown was serving up some classic comfort foods, I knew I had to stop by.

Rockfish was bursting the night I visited. It was nice to get out and see friends, have a few drinks, and taste some amazing food. That’s exactly what Rockfish is trying to promote: sense of community. Their latest offering is something you won’t find anywhere else on Island right now: free passed appetizers every Thursday and Friday from 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm.

Around 5:30, the crowd slowly settled, and everyone was either sipping cocktails at the bar or at a table perusing the menu. And then it began. The kitchen started sending out platters of some of the tastiest passed appetizers. Because let’s be honest: When someone offers “free passed appetizers,” my mind has flashbacks of greasy wings, fried mozzarella cheese, and puff pastry shells filled with unknown substances. But that’s not the deal at Rockfish. Appetizers included pepperonata over creamy polenta, buffalo cauliflower with blue cheese mousse, bacon and brussel sprouts, caramelized onion risotto, creamy mac and cheese, truffled egg salad on potato chips, and so much more. Served on a spoon, each bite is better than the last. Thoughtful preparation was put into play here, and you can taste it. Not only are these gracious appetizers a treat for the guests, but it’s also a great way for the chef and owners to test out new recipes and get instant feedback.

But enough of the passed appetizers. Let’s talk about the menu, because it’s jam-packed with some incredible comfort recipes that will make your heart swoon and your belly full. Here are some of my must-not-miss favorites this winter:

  • Chicken and Waffles Crispy chicken breast pieces sit atop a large mascarpone waffle, and then the entire thing is drenched in a spicy voodoo sauce. As if things couldn’t get better, it’s then drizzled with a maple gravy. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill chicken and waffles.
  • Braised Wild Boar and Pappardelle Wide, handmade noodles are swirled in a gorgeously light sauce, dotted with tenderly braised wild boar, cremini mushrooms, tomato, escarole, and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano. This is a stick-to-your-bones kind of meal.
  • Beer-Braised Beef Brisket Braised brisket so tender you might as well use a spoon is served alongside roasted heirloom potatoes, tuscan kale, and the perfect accompaniment: a horseradish crème fraîche.
  • Chicken & Dumplings Their take on the traditional, these black pepper dumplings are served with both braised chicken leg as well as a crispy chicken breast. An ode to a classic.

For dessert, I suggest continuing with the comfort food theme and ordering the classic apple tarte tatin. You can’t go wrong with that. Actually, you won’t go wrong with anything on the menu. It’s well-crafted, balanced, and offers something for everyone.

Rockfish is currently open Wednesdays through Sundays starting at 5:30 pm. Call 508-627-9967 for reservations, and keep up with them on Facebook. Free passed appetizers will continue through April, and are offered Thursdays and Fridays from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the downstairs area.